Sonnet Analysis

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Reclaiming the Sonnet:
Cummings and Millay’s Contemporary Use of the Classical Poetic Form Fourteen lines, iambic pentameter, rhyme scheme-- the classical form of the sonnet has been employed by poets since the thirteenth century. Whether the Italian Petrarchan, the English Shakespearean or other variations on the quatorzain, some of the most widely-read poets have risen to fame as sonneteers. Typically sonnets address romantic love or lust, but occasionally poets will lyrically meditate on nature, spirituality or other universal aspects of the human condition; however, modern poets have broken from the traditional sonnet form and subject matter to put a contemporary twist on the popular fourteen-line model. American poets E.E. Cummings
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The speaker personifies his nation, proclaiming with second-person pronouns, “i love you land of the pilgrims’ and so forth” and later stating, “thy sons acclaim your glorious name.” The orator muses over America’s war efforts the way other poets might idolize a young fair maiden or exalt the wonders of the natural world, the speechmaker inquires, “why talk of beauty,” claiming, “what could be more beautiful than these heroic happy dead who rushed like lions to the roaring slaughter.” Cummings points out the absurdity of extreme patriotism and the dangers accompanying glorified militarism with a speaker who praises his nation’s violent efforts with the romantic rhetoric of love poetry.
In addition to the heightened romantic language of the love poem, occasionally sonneteers will also utilize capitalization to convey a specific emotion regarding the poem’s subject. For example, in his popular 116th and 18th sonnets, respectively, Shakespeare plays with capitalization in several lines, including “Love’s not Time’s fool” and “Nor shall Death brag.” Capitalizing certain words that encompass great meaning or emotion-- as Shakespeare indicates with “Time” and “Death”-- aids poets in emphasizing the essential nature of said terms and their importance within the sonnet.
Cummings does not follow Shakespeare’s practice

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